I’ve seen Sting win the world title. Bret Hart get his well deserved world title. Shawn Michaels capture the gold at the peak of his popularity and the start of The Austin Era after “Stone Cold” defeated HBK. I’ve been watching wrestling long enough to see Hulk Hogan win all of his world titles, but I can say without exaggeration that I’ve never seen anything like the New Orleans Monday Night RAW crowd when Daniel Bryan came out to celebrate being the new unified world heavyweight champion.
Wrestlemania 30’s ending was classic, but this opening to RAW was special. I got that fanboy lump in my throat as Bryan said he wouldn’t be here without the fans and maybe more than any other wrestler he’s completely correct. The fans wouldn’t let WWE hold Bryan down and were only more vocal when it appeared that Bryan wasn’t going to get the opportunity to once again hold the world title at Wrestlemania. This was a heck of a moment.
I’m really not digging how the commentators are trying to push the idea that somehow the unified world champion embarrassed Triple H somehow. Again, Triple H hadn’t wrestled since last year’s Wrestlemania and it shouldn’t be anything embarrassing about losing to a guy who defeated multiple world champions in the same night.
Triple H and Stephanie ruin the fun although in this case it made perfect sense. Triple H wants to end the Yes Movement once and for all and is booking himself in a world title match. Perfectly sensible booking to me and with a screwy finish we’ve got our next ppv main event.
In the back we get an Evolution reunion. Everyone wants a shot at Daniel Bryan. Seems like I was on the same page with the WWE writers for a change as Stephanie books Batista and Randy Orton against The Usos for the tag titles. Triple H reminds them that together no one can stop them. I back an Evolution reunion 100% For those of you comparing this Authority storyline to the McMahon/Helmsley Era, Triple H reuniting his old faction, in this case Evolution instead of DX, completes the analogy.
John Cena, Big E and Sheamus vs The Wyatt Family
Loud “Let’s go Wyatt!” chant from the fans. I wonder what would make the fans happy regarding Cena at this point and I also wonder if deep down Cena isn’t tired of them booing him for no reason? As the fans boo the faces and cheer The Wyatts, the commentators explain it away as the post-Wrestlemania crowd as if it’s a gimmick now largely ignoring the fact that Cena is getting the majority heel response in every city now.
Would beating Big E for the intercontinental title be a demotion for Bray Wyatt at this point? And with this fan support what’re the odds of The Wyatts vs. Evolution by Summerslam? But if the WWE really wanted to blow my mind we’d get an Evolution vs. The Wyatts vs. The Shield match at any ppv and it’d be like printing money.
Bo Dallas promo. Maybe they should have aired that later so people wouldn’t notice how similar he looks to his brother Bray…
Santino/Emma vs Fandango/Summer Rae
Love Fandango’s peacock attire. The fans are still Fandango-ing at least and Summer looks amazing. Emma is the most impressive performer and she can’t face AJ Lee soon enough.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman come out to gloat. Undertaker was legit hospitalized for a concussion and reportedly Vince McMahon skipped the finale of Wrestlemania to ride in the ambulance with him. Oh, Heyman actually mentioned it.
I’m amazed that this crowd, which has been so decidedly pro-heel isn’t kissing the ground of the WWE’s best heel. You just don’t appreciate pro wrestling if you don’t love gloating Heyman, especially after he kills the “What?” chant.
Adam Rose is coming soon. It’s like the start of a new season for WWE and here comes all the new blood. Adam’s rave character could be a lot of fun. I’m intrigued, which is always good for new additions to the roster.
Batista/Orton vs. The Usos
Count out with Evolution leaving the Usos laying. Whatever they’re feeding the writers right now they need to keep it coming. No need to switch the belts right now when there’s a ppv to build to and now The Usos have some incentive to try and get revenge against Evolution.
Lana (yowza) intros Alexander Rusev who gets to destroy our former Internet darling Zack Ryder. Poor, poor Zack. Rusev looks like he’ll be holding his own just fine against the main-eventers. Hopefully he doesn’t get the Brodus Clay treatment.
Ultimate Warrior comes out to ramble and it’s all kinds of inane babbling, but it’s the Warrior so it’s cool. The crowd politely listens but he doesn’t get the super pop like most of the iconic 80s and 90s stars.
A.J. comes out to gloat herself and is interrupted by Paige. This wasn’t the best idea as Paige isn’t hardly on the mic level of A.J. and she seems a bit nervous. Don’t worry Paige, the crowd likes you. A.J. on the other hand? Not so much. She doesn’t appreciate the interruption one bit.
A.J. decides to show up the newcomer and books an impromptu Divas title match. Stop me if you know where this one is going. A.J. goes for her finisher, but Paige eventually reverses it to her own finisher that looked like she didn’t quite connect, but nonetheless, we’ve got a new Divas champ in somewhat underwhelming fashion. I’ve heard nothing but good things regarding Paige in NXT so hopefully this was just a case of nerves. Still, it was good to see some new blood in the stale Divas division.
Hulk Hogan comes out to officially present Cesaro with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy, which is weird since Cesaro actually was holding the trophy at Wrestlemania.
Zeb comes out to celebrate with his guy, but he gets a rude awakening as Heyman arrives to announce that Cesaro is now a Paul Heyman guy. Jack Swagger comes out to do the time honored tradition of breaking the trophy. Whew. For a moment I was worried a trophy was going to escape unscathed. Classic old school shot-out there.
On Main Event, we get Shield vs Wyatts, the one epic Wrestlemania match we were deprived of last night. Stephanie tries to rally Kane and The Shield to help Triple H tonight, but the tension between Kane and “The Hounds of Justice” don’t look like they’ll be subsiding anytime soon let alone being calmed down by Stephanie’s shrieking.
Before Bryan vs Triple H gets underway, Orton/Batista attack Bryan. Then Kane joins in on the fun. Seems like everyone’s on the same page. Triple H finally comes down and beats the crap out of Bryan while the fans start a “Hounds of Justice” chant.
The Shield come down in their cool biker masks, not like Aces & Eights were using them anymore, and glare menancingly at Kane and Evolution. Triple H does an awesome job of selling the realization of how tenuous his hold of The Shield is and tries to play peacemaker, but a Reigns spear officially completes The Shield’s face turn. Bryan lays Triple H out with a flying knee and the battle lines of Bryan & The Shield vs. Evolution and Kane have been firmly established. Next week, we really need Ric Flair back to fully reunite Evolution though.
This is how easy wrestling is to book. Set up something, get the fans begging for it and actually deliver on it. This is why there’s so many would-be wrestling writers online complaining when the WWE, TNA, etc. gets too cute for their own good. Right now, WWE is doing pretty much everything right and with the emergence of some new blood, Evolution’s reformation, The Shield and Wyatt’s sustained awesomeness and the Yes Movement Era, wrestling is pretty great right now. Can’t wait to see what happens next on Smackdown and it’s been years since I’ve said those words.